EU states refuse to back mobile TV standard

European Union nations asked the European Union not to call for a Nokia-backed mobile TV standard for Europe, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the European Commission had asked all 27 EU governments to support DVB-H, or digital video broadcasting for handhelds, and to look for ways to mandate its use to help push forward the rollout of broadcasts to mobile phones.

It said this was the best way to avoid format wars that can hold back the spread of new technology.

DVB-H, an open standard that can be licensed by anyone and was developed by European research institutes, has already lined up support from a group of companies headed by handset maker Nokia, the report said.

The EU took this tack when it pushed GSM, a move that saw Europeans adopt mobile phones much faster than people in the US.

But EU telecommunications ministers said this time that it was important to let the market decide which type of mobile TV it prefers, and the European Commission should stick to 'technology neutrality.' They said DVB-H should be a 'non-mandatory standard' among other options.

Dow Jones Newswires reported British Telecoms Minister Stephen Timms as saying it was too soon for regulators to pick a standard, the report said.

But ministers acknowledged DVB-H was already ahead of others in the region.

The EU said next year would be crucial in the growth of mobile TV; many people are expected to use their phones to watch the Beijing Olympics and the European Football Championship.